UPDATE: This machine has been sold!
Jurassic Park pinball joined the Arcade late 2011 but never got a story on the blog! I sold several video games to be able to acquire this machine. It is known as one of the best “Bang for the Buck” pinball machines out there. It has lots of great shots, a wide variety of modes, and a great theme. I’ve always been a big fan of the movie series and thought this machine would be a nice fit in the gameroom for a while. I’m partial to the Bally/Williams games from the same era but I got a nice deal on this machine and thought I’d try it out for a while.
The machine was in fair shape when I picked it up. Most of the rubber was replaced but the cabinet overall was a little dirtier than I like. Pinball machine playfields can get pretty dirty as you play them. After having the machine about a year it was really noticeable. The white replacement rubber picked up a lot of dirt and the ball didn’t travel as smoothly as it should.
Three weeks ago I jumped into doing a full “shop” of the playfield to clean it up. I had just put together a simple “rotisserie” stand to use just for this purpose. Basically to shop a playfield, you remove it completely from the machine so you can remove parts that need to be cleaned or replaced. You also clean and wax the play surface itself to really make the game play great! My rotisserie allows me to mount it in holders that not only hold the playfield off the ground or off a table, but I can also rotate it to easily access the underside.
It took about three weeks to shop this to the level that I was satisfied with. I replaced nearly all of the bulbs in the machine, replaced all of the rubber with black to match the original release, and cleaned every single piece from the top of the playfield. I waxed all pieces that had direct contact with the ball. I cleaned every square inch of the playfield and waxed it three times. It really looked great once I got the playfield reassembled.
As far as the upper cabinet, or backbox, went, I pulled all of the PCB boards and resoldered every wiring harness connector. I also inspected every fuse and resoldered all of the relays. This will help make sure that the game functions properly for years to come, without the risk of developing any cold solder joints. A cold solder joint is basically when the solder that holds the connector to the PCB board cracks and breaks the connection. This is typically due to the plugging and unplugging of the wiring harness over the years. There were also a few connectors that were “burnt” that I replaced. This is a common problem with pinball machines that have been on route. The General Illumination (GI) lighting draws a lot of power, which in turn will build up heat on the connectors for that circuit. After a while the connections will blacken, which cause them to generate more heat and ultimately fail. Whoever operated this machine on route did a cheap bypass of the burnt pins with just some loose wire. I yanked all of that out and put in new connectors to make sure that it was done right and would never be an issue again.
When I finally got everything put back together, I fired it up and NOTHING! UGH! After digging trough every single connection and looking theu thing over from top to bottom, I found one bad connector plug going to the DMD board. Once that was fixed, it worked perfectly! The game played SO MUCH better than it ever did before. And it plays FAST! I’m really happy with how it turned out.
I almost forgot to mention I added some better looking dinosaur toys to the playfield a few months ago. Data East didn’t really add much to their original design, and the ones they did add weren’t very detailed. I think my new Pterodactyl and Raptor look great!
After all of this work, I’m afraid to say that I am planning to sell this machine soon. I like the game but it’s not one of my “must have” games for the gameroom. I do have several outstanding projects that I just need the time and money to complete. The sale of this machine will allow me to finally complete my Donkey Kong II, Donkey Kong Jr., and Multi-Williams restorations, and a few other special projects I’ll mention in the near future.
As far as what else I’d do to this machine if I kept it, I would probably do two things for sure. First I would powdercoat the metal like I did with the World Cup Soccer pinball machine. I would also pick up a set of Cliffy Hole Protectors for the playfield holes. As the ball constantly drops in these holes the wood of the playfield begins to wear. This is a common issue with all pinball machines that have holes on the playfield. There is a company that makes a great set of protectors to prevent this. This machine has typical hole wear and would look better with new Cliffys.
If by chance your interested in a Jurassic Park pinball machine, drop me a quick email to check to see if I still have it available. More pics available from my Jurassic Park Photo Album